Media pushes for investigations against police in multiple shootings

On April 21, 2006, four people were shot dead in a police chase to catch alleged robbers in another car. Apparently, the local police shot the victims of the crime rather than the perpetrators. One month later another boy was shot in front of his home by police in yet another pursuit to catch robbers. The boy was also said to be innocent and “just in the wrong place and the wrong time.” Despite these cases, local police said that they would conduct their own investigations and would not allow independent inspections. After major media coverage, the Minister of the Interior finally established an investigative committee which included lawyers, former judges, retired policemen and other members of the community. Because of jhr-trained journalists putting pressure on the local police, the family members and friends of each victim were rest assured that their cases were being treated with a neutral outlook. Read the original editorial article below

Dansoman Shootings – Tragedy Upon Tragedy

 

By Sarah Meehan, with files from Kofi Owusu

 

The Ghana Police Service has asked us to regard their investigations into the Dansoman shootings as a test of their credibility. But with the firing of their guns, the police have blown open yet another gaping hole in the public’s confidence, myriad unanswered questions still ringing in the air. We’ve been repeatedly assured that the investigations will be thorough, that calls for an independent inquiry are futile, that the police have everything to lose and nothing to gain by concealing any potentially image-damaging facts relating to the tragedy that transpired in the pre-dawn hours of April 21st. We are urged to take them at their word while we are left with no tool by which to measure the truth of their findings. The mothers of the women shot dead – and the country that grieves with them – are asked to trust the very body that tore life so brutally from the innocent.

It is, of course, possible that the findings of the investigation will mirror the truth of what happened on April 21st. After all, the police are supposedly being watched not only by the media but also by a heavy political presence. The President has pledged his government’s support in discerning the facts, the out-going Minister of the Interior promising that “no one will be shielded” in the course of the inquiry. So let us suppose that the truth is indeed uncovered and justice is served – what then? What mechanisms will be set in place to ensure that this heartbreak is prevented from recurring? It is almost as brutal a tragedy that no framework exists to see that the Ghana Police Service learns from its mistakes. The past five years have been peppered with incidents in which police abuse of power has led to citizen casualties – and nothing has changed. An independent inquiry into the Dansoman shootings would not only soften the cries of the outraged, it could also serve to delineate a list of recommendations that might lead to real – and desperately needed – change within the service. We really don’t need to wait for the results of the investigations to recognize that the police should not have shot and killed four people.

 

Clearly, at the very least, the rules of engagement must be tightened, enforced, and not left up to the “discretion” of officers arriving at a scene. But until an objective, external body is created to examine these deplorable occurrences and compose guidelines that will change problematic police procedure, we can trust that our police service will remain accountable to no one but itself.

Search articles

Subscribe to the JHR newsletter

Explore topics

Tags

The Democratic Republic of Congo Tunisia Pakistan Morocco South Sudan Lithuania Latvia Poland Kenya Canada Iraq Afghanistan Lebanon Mali Turkey

Your donations help fund the work we do